Local state representative wants to see truth in sentencing in Tennessee

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Following a parole hearing for a man convicted of vehicular homicide by DUI, local State Representative Bud Hulsey said he is a big advocate for truth in sentencing.

He told News Channel 11 he plans to bring it up to the General Assembly.

On Thursday during a parole hearing, a grieving family had to once again face the man who hit and killed their loved one while he was driving drunk.

“They shouldn’t have to be here. We should not be here at this point,” Hulsey said.

Former lawmaker and businessman, Mike Locke, was placing campaign signs along Fort Henry Drive in June 2014, when James Hamm hit and killed him with his vehicle.

Hamm was sentenced to 14 years in prison last May. But less than 15 months later, he is up for parole.

“The fact that they are here so early in this process to already have to fight what they’ve already fought and dealt with is just awful,” Hulsey said.

He said by law a prisoner must serve 30% of the time they are sentenced before being eligible for parole. But there’s a loophole.

“Evidently the state law has provided a mechanism that we need to repair that says if you have good time days earned that evidently comes in front of the 30% and in this case it certainly did,” he explained.

Hulsey says he plans to bring up truth in sentencing to the General Assembly, meaning criminals must serve all of the time they are sentenced.

“The mechanism of being able to earn time off and credit and days off the day that you go into prison, charged, or get arrested. That mechanism is something the general assembly needs to fix,” he said.

David Locke, Mike Locke’s brother, couldn’t agree more.

“It’s not a board game. It’s life and death. You can’t just get a card that says hey I’m going to get out of jail. Doesn’t happen that way,” he said.

The Locke family will have to wait up to 10 days before they know if Hamm will be granted parole.

It will take four concurring votes from the parole board to reach a final decision.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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